|History is made out of the failures and heroism of each insignificant moment. - Franz Kafka|
No. 225, Part II, 17 November 1995
This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest. Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ TOP TWO BOSNIAN SERB LEADERS INDICTED FOR "SAVAGERY" AT SREBRENICA. The International Herald Tribune on 17 November said that the Hague-based war crimes tribunal has again indicted Serb civilian leader Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart, General Ratko Mladic. This time they are charged with being "directly responsible" for the "systematic mass killings" of up to 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica in July, which the paper called "what may be the worst massacre committed in Europe since World War II." One of the judges noted "scenes of unimaginable savagery: thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers' eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson." -- Patrick Moore ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT VETOES LAND REFORM BILL. The Ukrainian parliament on 15 November voted 245 to 13 with 21 abstentions against the draft law on land reform, claiming it was "a danger to Ukraine's economic security," UNIAR reported. Supported by President Leonid Kuchma, the bill would have provided for private ownership of land. Deputy Prime Minister Petro Sabluk told Reuters the next day that the veto "does not mean the process of land reform has stopped or will be stopped." But Ukrainian Agricultural Minister Pavlo Haidutsky said the dismantling of the collective farm system could lead to the sorts of decline in agriculture that East European countries suffered after they allowed private ownership. This year's grain harvest is estimated to be 36.5 million tons, which, according to Reuters, is an improvement over last year. -- Bruce Pannier UKRAINE GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO NUCLEAR REACTOR. Following a 10-day shutdown, the sixth reactor at the Zaporizha nuclear power station was put back on line, Reuters reported on 16 November. The reactor, the first opened since the ban on new stations was lifted in 1993, began operating in early October but was closed shortly after for repairs to the steam generator and for examinations of possible leaks of radioactive water. An official from Derzhkomatom noted that there was no danger and that "some faults in a new reactor" are only natural. He added that the reactor will operate at 40% capacity, increasing to 75% in the near future. -- Roger Kangas CONFLICT BETWEEN ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER, ARMY CHIEF. Defense Minister Andrus Oovel openly criticized Lt. Gen. Aleksander Einseln on 15 November for what he called shortcomings in building up the state defense, BNS reported the next day. Oovel said he opposed the recent appointment of Col. Vello Loema as acting chief of staff, noting that it had not been discussed with his ministry, as required by Estonian law. Opposition parliament deputy Juri Adams said such an open conflict was something that a democratic country could not allow and suggested that a no confidence vote against Oovel be initiated. Einseln will meet with Oovel on 18 November after returning from Germany where he is to give a lecture at a course for senior NATO officers. -- Saulius Girnius LITHUANIA DEPORTS ILLEGAL REFUGEES. Lithuanian officials on 15 November deported 108 illegal Asian refugees by placing them on the train to Moscow. Most of the deported had been detained during the previous week although one group had been held since the beginning of October. Since Lithuania does not have an agreement with Russia and Belarus on the unconditional return of such refugees, they are sent back on the basis of case-to-case negotiations. The extent of the problem of refugees trying to reach the West through Lithuania was shown by the detention of a group of 49 Afghan refugees near the Polish border later that evening and another group of 20 Asians the next day, BNS reported. -- Saulius Girnius RISE IN CRIME IN BELARUS. Belarusian acting Prosecutor-General Vasil Kapitan told a news conference on 16 November that crime in Belarus was getting worse, Belarusian Radio reported. The number of crimes registered in the first ten months of the year was 108,527 or 12,500 more than in the same period last year. Of particular concern is the 53.5% increase in serious crimes. -- Saulius Girnius FINAL STAGES OF POLISH PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. Incumbent President Lech Walesa on 16 November said that if he wins the 19 November second round of presidential elections, Jozef Oleksy's government should resign. Rzeczpospolita on 17 November reported the results of an opinion poll conducted by the Social Research Bureau according to which Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski would have won 50.8% of votes and Walesa 49.2% if elections had taken place on 15 November. Two- thirds of those who voted in the first round for former Prime Minister Jan Olszewski intend to vote for Walesa, as do more than half of those who cast their ballot for former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron and Central Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. The Polish presidential campaign officially ends at noon on 17 November. -- Jakub Karpinski POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN MOSCOW. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski paid a one-day visit to Moscow on 16 November, Polish dailies reported the next day. In a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Andrei Kozyrev, Bartoszewski discussed bilateral relations, which, he said, were "developing well" despite political differences. Moscow supported Bartoszewski's proposal to organize a Polish-Russian round table in spring 1996. With regard to European security, Bartoszewski said that while Poland wants to take part in a new, expanded NATO, it cannot envisage the transformation of the alliance without NATO reaching agreements with Russia and Ukraine. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz CZECH FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS ON GERMANY TO COMPENSATE VICTIMS OF NAZISM. Josef Zieleniec on 16 November called on Germany to compensate unconditionally Czech victims of the wartime Nazi occupation, Czech media reported. In a speech at Prague's Charles University, Zieleniec said both governments should contribute to a Czech-German fund for the benefit of those whose suffered. The Czech Republic is the only country occupied by the Nazis that has never received wholesale compensation from postwar Germany; victims of Nazism have so far received only money from a special fund set up by the Czech government last year. In negotiations over a joint parliamentary declaration currently being prepared to heal old wounds in Czech-German relations, the German side has linked the question of compensation with recognizing claims by Sudeten Germans, 3 million of whom were forcibly expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. -- Steve Kettle CZECH DOCTORS SUSPEND PROTEST ACTION. Czech doctors, who have been taking industrial action since the beginning of this month, temporarily called off their protest on 16 November after being asked to do so by President Vaclav Havel. After meeting with Havel, David Rath, chairman of the Medical Trade Union Club (LOK), said the "administrative strike" will be immediately suspended until the end of this month. Rath said Havel told him that he sympathized with doctors' concerns over pay and conditions but that he believed protest action was not the way to solve the situation, Czech media reported. LOK members and other health service workers staged a one-day strike on 1 November and since then have refused to carry out normal administrative tasks. Health officials threatened the doctors with sanctions, including cutting their pay and possible criminal charges, if they continued with the protest. -- Steve Kettle EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT PASSES RESOLUTION ON SLOVAKIA. The European parliament on 16 November approved a resolution recommending that the Slovak government respect democratic principles, cease attempts to cast doubt on the mandates of democratically elected legislators, and guarantee all citizens the right to freedom of expression in the media and public life. The parliament warned that it might close its office in Slovakia and stop its assistance programs if Vladimir Meciar's government does not take democratic principles into account. The Foreign Ministry rejected the resolution, which, it said, was "neither a dialogue nor a discussion" but "a monologue and decision" made without listening to the other party. Meciar's party--the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS)--responded by saying that the resolution "is reminiscent of recent history, when the leader of Nazi Germany first sent demarches to states and then occupied them with tanks." -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY CRITICIZES SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW. The Hungarian government on 16 November released a sharply worded statement expressing "sorrow and dissatisfaction" at the Slovak parliament's adoption of a controversial language law the previous day. It also stressed that the law might hinder the development of bilateral ties, Hungarian and international media reported. Foreign Minister Ladislav Kovacs said that before taking any further measures, the Hungarian government will study the final text of the new law. "Then we will make our concerns known to the Slovak authorities before consulting the Council of Europe and the OSCE," Kovacs said. Foreign Ministry State Secretary Istvan Szent-Ivanyi said the language law contravenes the Slovak-Hungarian treaty and pointed out that if the treaty is ratified by the Slovak parliament, it will repeal the language law. -- Sharon Fisher SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE U.S., GOLDSTONE AGREE THAT WAR CRIMINALS MUST FACE JUSTICE. Richard Goldstone, chief justice of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, said there cannot be real peace in the Balkans as long as war criminals go unpunished, the BBC reported on 16 November. The Independent also quoted him as saying that diplomats have no right to offer war criminals deals as part of a peace settlement. The State Department stressed that there can be no peace without justice and said that it expects Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia to cooperate with the tribunal, international media noted. To date, Belgrade has been unwilling to hand over Karadzic, Mladic, or any other of the 45 indicted Serbs. No Muslims have yet been indicted. -- Patrick Moore CROATIA DUCKS ON WAR CRIMINALS. The Guardian on 16 November reported that Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa has indicated he has no intention of handing over the six Bosnian Croats indicted on 13 November. Reuters quoted him as saying the charges have not been substantiated and that Croatia must "abide by procedure." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 17 November quoted Croatian spokesmen as calling General Tihomir Blaskic's transfer back to Zagreb a rotation rather than a promotion, as it has widely been viewed. Globus asked Matesa why another of the six, Dario Kordic, recently got a medal for promoting Croatia's reputation abroad. The newly appointed premier replied: "It is not my job to give views on why Dario Kordic received that medal. He was most probably given this medal by the president himself." Elsewhere, Novi list wrote on 17 November that the Bosnian army has been guilty of "genocide" against the Bosnian Croats. Slobodna Dalmacija said that Blaskic is a professional who could not have committed war crimes. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN CROAT LEADER DISSATISFIED WITH DAYTON TALKS. Kresimir Zubak, in a letter sent to U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke on 15 November, said he cannot sign the proposed peace agreement because it does not sufficiently take Bosnian Croat interests into account, the BBC reported on 17 November, quoting Radio Herceg-Bosna. Zubak added that he had expected to be more actively involved in drawing up the text, especially with regard to the maps but that he had been informed via intermediaries only. Meanwhile, a UN spokesman in Sarajevo complained that despite a recent agreement, Bosnian government and Bosnian Croat forces are denying the UN free movement, Nasa Borba reported on 17 November. -- Daria Sito Sucic BOSNIA, CROATIA AGREE TO LINK CURRENCIES. Bosnia's Muslim-Croatian Federation and the Croatian government agreed on 16 November to link the Bosnian dinar and the Croatian kuna, German media reported on 16 November. The link will be based on the Deutsche mark and will go into effect on 20 January 1996. The agreement was worked out with the assistance of officials from the IMF and World Bank. -- Michael Wyzan KOSOVAR HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP WANTS MILOSEVIC INDICTED. Kosovo's Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms has said it will hand over documents to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that could lead to an indictment of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. International agencies on 16 November reported that the council has charged Milosevic, former Serbian police chief Zoran Sokolovic, and other police officials with responsibility for crimes against humanity and genocide, including the killing of about 150 Albanians since 1989. It also points to some 300,000 cases of harassment and torture. According to Kosova Daily Report, the council said that in October 188 persons were arbitrarily arrested or detained and 123 Albanian households raided. It also reported cases of plundering, torture, and forcible induction into the army during that period. -- Fabian Schmidt MONTENEGRIN PREMIER'S U.S. VISIT. BETA on 16 November reported that developments surrounding the official recent visit to the U.S. by a Montenegrin delegation, led in part by Premier Milo Djukanovic, may be unnerving some officials in Belgrade. Djukanovic, who was in the U.S. from 5-13 November, met with top U.S. administration staff for discussions over NATO's possible use of the port of Bar. Tanjug on 15 November reported that Djukanovic discussed using Bar as a transit point for personnel and equipment that may be involved in enforcing a peace for Bosnia. The premier was quoted as stressing that "this was not a matter of...installing NATO forces in Montenegro but of transportation." BETA reported, however, that Djukanovic held the talks "without consulting Belgrade." -- Stan Markotich ITALIAN DELEGATION IN SKOPJE PROMISES LOAN. Italian government officials, during a visit to Macedonia on 16 November, offered the country a credit worth 24 billion lire (about $15 million), Nova Makedonija reported the next day. The loan is for support of small and medium-sized enterprises. Italy, which will take over the rotating EU presidency in January, promised to use its good offices to help complete the process of Macedonia's integration into international institutions. -- Michael Wyzan ROMANIA'S HUNGARIAN MINORITY RESUMES PROTESTS. The Covasna County branch of the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania has called on Hungarian pupils, teachers, and parents to resume their protests in support of mother-tongue tuition at all levels, Adevarul reported on 17 November. The organization proposed hoisting white flags and forming human chains around the county's Hungarian schools. Adevarul quoted Romanian President Ion Iliescu in Paris as saying the ethnic Hungarians' criticism of the education law was "demagogic." -- Matyas Szabo ROMANIAN CHIEF OF STAFF AT NATO HEADQUARTERS. A military delegation led by Romanian Chief of Staff Gen. Dumitru Cioflina has ended its visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels, Radio Bucharest reported on 16 November. A NATO spokesman praised Romania's participation in the Partnership for Peace program and its active role in developing military cooperation with NATO. Cioflina stressed that joint activities with NATO proved that Romania was a "serious partner" whose final political goal was full membership in the alliance. In another development, Romania on 16 November announced that it had met the demands of the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe treaty by cutting its armed forces by half, Reuters reported. -- Matyas Szabo MOLDOVA WILL NOT APPLY TO JOIN NATO. President Mircea Snegur on 16 November stressed again that his country does not intend to apply to join NATO, BASA-press reported. Snegur told senior Moldovan officers at the Defense Ministry that Moldova's participation in the Partnership for Peace program does not mean it is planning to join the alliance, as claimed by leaders of the breakaway Dniester region. Snegur stressed that the Moldovan Constitution stipulated neutrality and that the country would therefore not be part of any military alliance. -- Dan Ionescu BULGARIA TO GET RUSSIAN SPARE PARTS FOR DEBT. Russian and Bulgarian negotiators on 15 November in Moscow signed an agreement whereby Russia will provide $48 million worth of maintenance and spare parts for Russian-built Bulgarian warplanes in partial repayment of its $100 million debt to Bulgaria, BTA reported. The agreement was reached during a meeting of the Bulgarian-Russian Commission on Special Production. The report said the Russians expressed an interest in setting up joint ventures for the development, production, and sale of military equipment to third countries. -- Doug Clarke ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFIES FRIENDSHIP TREATY WITH ITALY. The Albanian parliament on 16 November ratified a treaty between Albania and Italy calling for wider economic cooperation and joint efforts to fight organized crime, drug trafficking, and illegal immigration, international agencies reported on 16 November. The treaty also includes a provision regulating the immigration of Albanian seasonal workers to Italy. The parliament the same day passed a law on the privatization of the state-owned Trade Bank, Rilindja Demokratike reported. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. 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For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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